The pressure on Zinedine Zidane eased dramatically following the 1-0 win over Sevilla during the weekend, but a mounting list of injuries is starting to concern the manager ahead of the game with Osasuna this weekend. Real Madrid have picked up only three victories so far this season and there are plenty of concerns surrounding the squad.
The heavy 3-0 loss against PSG turned out to be a decisive blow for the team and it raised plenty of questions about Zinedine Zidane’s future at club. Such a status would not have been envisaged when Florentino Perez convinced the Frenchman to return to the job just a few months after his exit. Yet, Madrid were struggling even after spending a vast sum of money in the summer. Eden Hazard remains confident that the Los Blancos can turn the situation around. According to Goal.com, he said:
“When you play for Real Madrid you have to win every game, that’s how it is, that’s why it’s the best club in the world, because you always have that pressure.
“But we have a quality team. It was difficult but we won at Sevilla, a stadium where it is never easy.
“In the Champions League too, it’s still important even if we lost our first game against Paris, but we can dream of a great season with the team we have.”
Hazard was a conspicuous absence from the team in the first few games of the campaign. Injuries and poor form limited his impact after the mega €110 million transfer from Chelsea in the summer. There has been a substantial improvement from Hazard in the last two games, although he is yet to score or assist for his new team.
The Belgian winger is clearly one of the several players in the Madrid team who can perform much better. Despite the mega move, Hazard came to the club overweight and unfit. Aware of the increased spotlight at Madrid compared to his time at Chelsea, Hazard has been working hard in the gym and in training, according to reports.
Zidane needs the Belgian winger at a time when many of the Real Madrid first-team players are unavailable due to injuries. Ferland Mendy is the latest to pull out of the team due to an injury, while the likes of Marcelo, Isco, Marco Asensio, and Luka Modric are all trying to get back as soon as possible. Things are not helped by a fixture congestion that sees the club involved in seven games over just 21 days – including international matches.
However, there has been positive news elsewhere with the club being able to get better performances from the likes of James Rodriguez, who has started contributing more on the defensive areas of the pitch. Previously, this was not the case since the Colombian was only expected to get offensive. Now, every member of the squad has to contribute defensively and changes made by Zidane are apparent with the way Madrid picked up a clean sheet against Sevilla, who are one of the inform teams.
Karim Benzema, who is never renowned for scoring goals, has also been able to pick up five goals for the season.
Madrid welcome a favourable run of opponents over the next five games. It should provide the team with a platform to build on the recent run of victories. Madrid have been able to capitalise on Barcelona’s woes by going joint top of the table – along with Granada and Athletic Bilbao. Only goal difference separates Madrid from these two teams.